Women of color have been demanding to be heard and acknowledged in the #MeToo / #TimesUp movement and finally the tide is shifting. And it starts by holding R. Kelly accountable.
To say that R. Kelly has had a colorful history with the opposite sex is putting it very, very lightly — but unfortunately that’s how the Pied Piper’s actions have been treated over the years. Yes, he was acquitted on the 14 counts of child pornography he faced in 2008, BUT it’s also been well-documented that several of his accusers were paid off, silenced and/or disregarded (not to mention he married songstress Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old … he was 25). And, to that end, the Time’s Up organizers are calling for the community at large to cancel Kells and they are demanding that law enforcement conduct a long-overdue thorough investigation into Kells’ acts.
In joining the #MuteRKelly movement, women of color within the Time’s Up movement have released a letter of support to other WOC and issued a call to action — the letter has been re-posted by Ava DuVernay, Questlove and others. This comes just days after radio legend Tom Joyner sat down with the originator of #MeToo, Tarana Burke, and vowed to no longer play R. Kelly music.
To Our Fellow Women of Color:
We see you. We hear you. Because we are you.
For too long, our community has ignored our pain. The pain we bear is a burden that too many women of color have had to bear for centuries. The wounds run deep.
As women of color within Time’s Up, we recognize that we have a responsibility to help right this wrong. We intend to shine a bright light on our WOC sisters in need. It is our hope that we will never feel ignored or silenced ever again.
The recent court decision against Bill Cosby is one step toward addressing these ills, but it is just a start. We call on people everywhere to join with us to insist on a world in which women of all kinds can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behavior.
To this end, today we join an existing online campaign called #MuteRKelly.
Over the past 25 years, the man known publicly as R. Kelly has sold 60 million albums, toured the globe repeatedly and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays on radio and streaming services.
During this time, he also …
Married a girl under 18 years of age;
Was sued by at least four women for sexual misconduct, statutory rape, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and furnishing illegal drugs to a minor;
Was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography;
Has faced allegations of sexual abuse and imprisonment of women under threats of violence and familial harm;
Together, we call on the following corporations and venues with ties to R. Kelly to join us and insist on safety and dignity for women of all kinds:
RCA Records: the venerable music label currently produces and distributes R. Kelly’s music;
Ticketmaster: the popular ticketing system is currently issuing tickets for R. Kelly’s show May 11;
Spotify and Apple Music: the popular streaming platforms currently monetizing R. Kelly’s music;
Greensboro Coliseum Complex: the North Carolina venue is currently hosting an R. Kelly concert May 11.
The scars of history make certain that we are not interested in persecuting anyone without just cause. With that said, we demand appropriate investigations and inquiries into the allegations of R. Kelly’s abuse made by women of color and their families for over two decades now. And we declare with great vigilance and a united voice to anyone who wants to silence us: Their time is up.
Together, We Are Strong,
WOC | TIME’S UP
Since the posting of the letter, Kelly’s May 5th performance at University of Chicago’s “Love Jam” has been canceled. A perplexed R. hopped on Instagram to apologize to fans and called the allegations surrounding him “rumors.”
With all that being said, will you now cancel Kells?
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